Nov 28, 2014
The Gay Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
They weren't actually heroic fantasy, they were "weird tales," dark fantasies by H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) originally published in the 1920s and 1930s, mostly about slithering, tentacled things that lurk just beneath the surface of idyllic small towns.
Such as Azazoth, "who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes."
That's the way he wrote.
And "unspeakable knowledge" uncovered in long-forgotten grimoires: De Vermis Mysteriis, the Book of Eibon, Unaussprechlichen Kulten.... and, of course, the Necronomicon, written by the "mad Arab Abdul Alhazred."
I loved that sort of thing. Especially because there was:
Lots of descriptions of masculine beauty.
Lots of male bonding.
Lots of muscular men discovering the horror behind the heteronormative job-wife-house trajectory.
In "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" (1919), the narrator hears a disembodied voice speaking from a sleeping man: "I am your brother of light, and have floated with you in the effulgent valleys. You have been my friend in the cosmos We shall meet again -- perhaps in the shining mists of Orion's Sword, perhaps in some other form an aeon hence, when the solar system shall have been swept away."
Talk about soul mates!
Might I suggest West Hollywood?
In real life, Lovecraft was rather a jerk. He was even more racist than most in his era, loudly criticizing the "decadent, half-ape" immigrants who were "overrunning" New England. He particularly disliked Jews, although he married a Jewish woman (his frequent anti-Semitic ranting was the cause of their breakup).
And he was even more homophobic than most, loudly criticizing gay people as "effeminate" and a danger to civilization. Yet he had many gay friends, such as Hart Crane (author of The Bridge), Samuel Loveman (author of Hermaphrodite and Other Poems), and Robert Hayward Barlow (who became executor of his estate).
In fact, one might say that he found his strongest emotional bonds among gay men.